I came here knowing that service is my calling. I love that Elizabethtown is committed to Educate for Service.
Heather Slifko ’12 arrived at Elizabethtown with a servant’s heart—desiring to use her talents and skills to help others. “I came here knowing that service is my calling,” she reflects. “I love that Elizabethtown is committed to Educate for Service and offers a number of opportunities to get involved in helping others.”
In January 2009, Heather connected with Elizabethtown’s Office of Community and Civic Engagement on a bus headed to Texas to rebuild homes devastated by Hurricane Rita. “On that trip, I met a lot of people who have the same ideals as I have—Nancy Valkenburg ’71, Sharon Sherick and others who would become my friends,” she recalls. “They told me about the Office of Civic Engagement. And in spring 2009, I began to work with the office as an assistant and have not left since."
With the organization, Heather has served in Louisiana and Florida and supported a variety of local projects, such as coordinating aid for older Elizabethtown residents and mentoring students at Milton Hershey School. Through her involvement, she not only has helped others, but she also has gained invaluable leadership and organizational skills. “We are presented with opportunities and given the latitude to run with them,” she reflects. “With each project I’ve led, my excitement has increased. And I’ve found the encouragement and direction I needed to be successful.”
Over the past four years, Heather’s dedication to serving others has grown and now spills over into every aspect of her collegiate experience. Since 2009, she has been one of only a few Elizabethtown students selected as AmeriCorps Scholars and annually completed hundreds of hours of community service as part of the program. And with student organizations like Faith in Action and the Newman Club, Heather has helped those who are homeless in California and has supported projects with the Ronald McDonald House, Morningstar Pregnancy Center, and Brittany’s Hope.
In addition, she has found service opportunities within her major, occupational therapy. For the Student Occupational Therapy Association, she has coordinated various projects and now serves as an officer. In fact, Heather’s choice of majors was in itself a decision that’s moved her toward a life of service. “Occupational therapy is helping people live life to the fullest and enabling them to do things that are really meaningful to them,” she explains. “It really is the combination of everything I find rewarding.”